How do know exactly what I want from my major?
So I know I want to go into computer science but that has a lot within it, database, programming, information tech, etc and I'm really lost at what I want to follow within the major I don't want to waste anytime studying or taking classes that won't be benefiting my future. #information-technology #databases #information-technology
Krishna Chaitanya’s Answer
If you have an option to pick the courses, I would recommend to focus on data science related subjects or software architecture related courses. Data scientist and Site Reliability Engineer are the two hot job roles in computer science related fields now.
Generally speaking, Computer Science and/or purely programmatic or a heavy focus on the technical aspects of constructing software, systems, etc., is a career path that can require focus in a specialty in order to break through salary and role ceilings. And it’s also one that typically has less human interaction than other tech careers. General IT can swing many directions - all the way from isolated work (dedicated programmer, forensics, data analytics programmer, etc.) with little human interaction to inter-personally intensive - interacting all the time, all day long (Solutions architect / Support / Help Desk / Management). General IT also has fewer salary / role ceilings when looking at them from a management perspective, and those ceilings may cross over somewhat in similarity to Comp Sci if the role is technically / programmatically intensive.
Once you can start to drill down on what seems interesting to you more, you can start looking at majors and minors. Your major is a moderately big deal in breaking into a career, and a minor might help a little or not - depends on the major, the industry, and the organization looking at you as a candidate. They will both over time be superseded by your experience. Using other technical, engineering, math minors is probably a good idea if going into a strict, deep, technical Comp Sci focus, as specialization is a likely path to develop that career most effectively. For a general Info Tech degree/focus, you have many paths you can take, or you can bounce around in different assignments / industries as well, all without diluting your career too much. For this more generalized IT focus, you can look at many different minors: If you're going into work for businesses, a minor in finance or marketing can be helpful. If you're going into the Health field, then a minor in sciences or social sciences can help. Some schools might even offer minors in Public Admin, or Health Admin to compliment the industry direction you're going towards. Also just as in the case of a Comp Sci major, focusing on a business sector major in Info Tech, with minors in more technical specific fields like mathematics, are still strong combinations, as it will give you an advantage in the technical aspects over your competition. But of course, so will being able to understand the underlying Financial theory when putting together a P&L enterprise dashboard. So the choice is yours, and the best move is a subjective assessment you need to make for yourself. The good news is that you can still traverse into and out of careers offered by both areas (Comp Sci and Info Tech), although moving from Comp Sci to Info Tech is going to be easier than the other way around. But spending time in Comp Sci, when you really want to go into careers that are more cut out for Info Tech, can cause some wasted years learning the deeper language, programming, and construction disciplines when you may not need them. These are not rules by any means – they are just some general observations my firms (IT consulting) have seen over the last 20 yrs in the industry.
In choosing a career, and I can't emphasize this enough, network, network, network -- all in the areas you're interested in. You can join networking groups, or hit LinkedIn hard (many IT professionals there). Offer a lunch or coffee, etc., to pick some brains in the fields you're interested in. Nothing like hearing it from someone who is in the field you're interested in. Remember – if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.
. The course work or specialization may not define what you would do in work life. Go for broader course work that will build your foundation for 40+ years of work life.
That's a lot of soul searching and that's to get you started. As you age and get more educated and more exposed to other areas either from classes , internships and/or clubs or social media , you will find yourself fired up enough to take the plunge and choose something like Data Sciences/Machine Learning. The truth is ,if you look down the road to the future, you have to imagine yourself down there. Are you in a cubicle typing code and going to endless meetings and that is your life? Or are you a researcher or computer engineer developing new solutions for the masses? Be Bold. You only get one chance to live you life. Make it count for your own sake.
You even could be a sale person type and take all this knowledge to help craft a successful corporate computer sales and services job?
So, eat up all those classes you love! Be sociable! Make connections with teams and clubs. Get involved on the outside of the campus. Good Luck